January JumpStart Hosted Networking Social

JANUARY JUMPSTART HOSTED NETWORKING SOCIAL

Jump Start Your Success To The Next Level

Wednesday, Jan. 11th, 2012 (6-9 PM) in downtown Toronto (Estiatorio Volos 133 Richmond St. W., Toronto, ON M5H 2L3)

With 13 Great Hosts to Help You Network

Join our MetroActive hosts and members for an evening focused on taking your business or career to the next level of success in the Financial District (Estiatorio Volos 133 Richmond St. W., Toronto, ON M5H 2L3). Take advantage of individual business introductions, socializing, and networking.  Enjoy the company of a diversified group of individuals with  common interest of networking and achieving success in their work, business or personal life.

Add gusto to your networking activities in a social environment which combines the atmosphere of business success with personal development and relationship building.

The evening will begin by focusing on business networking with the assistance of MetroActive hosts who will help make introductions. Then the hosting team members will be briefly introduced to all the guests.

Later in the evening, you can relax with leisurely conversation and atmosphere as you continue to build your new relationships with like-minded and like-spirited professionals.

This is a great opportunity to touch base with acquaintances and to make new friends (don’t forget your business cards). So feel free to bring along your friends and colleagues interested in advancing their career, growing their business, building their network or making new friends.

Reserve your admission today. Our last three events were sold out and we had to turn away dozens of individuals who didn’t buy tickets far enough in advance. Don’t delay!

Admission Price Includes: 1. One drink ticket good for house red and white wines, domestic bottled beer or bar rail drinks (vodka, rye, rum, gin) and 2. $100 in gift certificates from Nanni couture (high end Europen fashions at Hazelton Lanes, Yorkville)

Draw Prizes: A two hour consultation valued at $600 ($1,000 total value) provided by Lisa Smith-Maxam of The Staff Room, two 1/2 hour business coaching sessions on how to grow your business valued at $150 each ($300 total value) provided by Baldo Minaudo. More to come.

 

HOSTS: (are you interested in being a host? Click here for more info on hosting)

Baldo Minaudo, President of MetroActive, Author of ‘The Banker Who Saved His Soul’ and Blogger
Helping People and Opportunity Meet

Barry Spilchuk, Coauthor – A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul® and The TRUSTED AUTHORITY in PUBLIC SPEAKER TRAINING
Helping You Write and Sell Your Book

Lisa Smith-Maxam, Director, The Staff Room
Helping with all your Human Resources needs from Administration to Staffing

Monika Burwise, Co-Founder & President of Global Awakening Institute
Transforming Lives from the Inside-Out

Michael Ballard, President, Resiliency For Life
Helping You Spring Back From Unexpected Adversity and Setbacks

Greg van Riel, Producer, Van Riel Productions Inc. & Family History Now
Documenting You Family Legacy Through Film and Photography

Lucy Baran, Global Placement Services
We provide qualified workers and pay employers to train them

Rial Ahsan, President of Hospital Consortium of Canada Inc.
Bringing Canadian Hospital and University Expertise to Developing Countries

Paul Pittana, Mortgage Agent, Centum National Mortgage Loans Inc.
Looking Out for Your Best Interest

Sue Hosang, President, The Chocolate Castle
Your Source for Chocolate Pleasures and Delights

Vito Marchese, President of Whiteboard Studio
A Creative Advertising Agency specializing in entrepreneurial growth strategies

Richard Baker, Brand Doctor, Baker Branding 
Defining your Brand Identity

Ken Campbell, Real Estate Sales Representative with Real Estate Homeward in the Beach.
Providing Real Estate Services in the areas of Residential, Commercial, Retirement, Long-term Care Homes and Rent-to-Own

Dress Code: Business attire or equivalent

Note: You must provide proof of full payment for admission into the event. Purchase is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another individual as long as you provide that person with your proof of payment along with your signature on the bottom and note that says “I transfer my ticket to the bearer of this receipt”. We reserve the right to change event details without notice, so make sure you check event post online before event. We reserve the right to refuse admission to the event or to remove individuals from the event without refund of admission price, for whatever reason, but especially for inappropriate behaviour or complaints from, or harassment of other guests. This event is not appropriate for network marketing or multi-level marketing sales or recruitment.

ATTENTION

Now Accepting Applications for HOSTS

Looking for Event SPONSORS and DOOR PRIZES

BARTERING and PARTNERING Proposals Considered

Volunteers Welcome

E: info@metroactive.org

 

OPTIONS (all options include one drink ticket – Bring your proof of payment for admission):

 

IF YOU REGISTER AFTER 10:30AM YOU WILL NOT BE AUTOMATICALLY ADDED TO THE REGISTRATION LIST. YOU MUST CALL LISA MAXAM OF THE STAFF ROOM (416) 797-7461 TO LET US KNOW YOU’RE COMING AND BRING YOUR PROOF OF PAYMENT WITH YOU TO ENTER THE EVENT (OR PAY AT THE DOOR OPTION 3)

1. Reserve your spot now for only $7.50 plus $0.98 HST (Non-refundable) to guarantee your spot and ticket price and pay $30 cash at door ($26.55 plus HST of $3.45).

2. Buy your ticket now for $35 ($30.97 plus $4.03 HST) for a savings of 14% off door price and guarantee you’ll have your spot at this price.

3. Show up at the event and pay $45 ($39.82 plus HST of  $5.18) – NOTE: Door price may increase before event.

FOR DETAILS:

MetroActive t: (416) 564-0245

Weekend of Writing: Get Your Book Down in a Weekend!

Wanting to write a book?

Get serious and write your book in 2 days!

January 28-29, 2012 in downtown Toronto

Best-selling author Barry Spilchuk, who’s written 7 books and sold over 600,000 copies will share his secrets, techniques and tips on how to quickly produce the outline of your potentially best-selling book.

This 2-day intensive workshop will leave you with a complete outline of your book and then you fill in the blanks on your own time. The writing is a lot quicker and easier once you have the right outline in place.

Take a weekend and just get it done now! Isn’t it time for your book to be on the shelf?

 Seating is Limited – Register Now!

This workshop is endorsed and sponsored by MetroActive

MetroActive Member Price: $497.00 plus HST (email: info@metroactive.org if your a member and would like to register). If you’re not a member and are interested in this workshop MetroActive will waive the $100 membership application fee – email us for details.

Non-Member Price: $597 (plus HST)

WILL 2012 BE A STRUGGLE OR YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL YEAR EVER?

Take Your Personal, Professional and Business Success To The Next Level…

in this Ultimate Weekend Success Bootcamp!

GEAR YOURSELF FOR INCREDIBLE SUCCESSWorkshop Feb. 4-5, 2012
Hosted by Global Awakening Institute in association with MetroActive

Make 2012 YOUR YEAR! Target specific areas of your life for incredible success in 2012 – business, finances, relationships, social influence, health, learning, spiritual growth, or any combination of these. There is no valid reason why your life should be any different from the life you envision !

Because each of us has a unique definition of success this workshop will guide you through an in-depth personal exploration to :

  • Clearly define your unique vision of success and develop it further into a concise action plan describing your step-by-step process to attaining your goals.
  • Demystify your underlying drives & motivations and how to use this knowledge to propel you forward.
  • Uncover your genius – discover your unique combination of the 11 types of intelligence to identify your strengths and how to best apply them to achieve your vision of success.
  • Identify any personal blocks and challenges you may have and explore the most effective methods to either remove or transcend them.
  • # And Much More…

You will leave this two day workshop with all the empowering knowledge and wisdom you need to attain your goals for 2012, as well as a clear and easy to follow plan to get where you want to be!

And To Further Guarantee Your Success –
You Get FREE Ongoing Support…
As part of the workshop you will also get ongoing support for two months, and a community sharing space, to keep you on track and motivated, and to hold you accountable to your action plan. This service alone is worth more than your $597 investment, but is included in the workshop package as your free bonus.

Book Early To Avoid Disappointment…
Seats are Limited ! To make sure each attendee gets maximum value from this workshop we are limiting it to only 30 participants. Each of you will get 1-on-1 time with an expert facilitator to guide you through any difficult areas of the process, as well as loads of participation in group interaction to leverage the benefits of the powerful group dynamic.

This Workshop Covers Everything You Need to Take Your Career, Business and Personal Life To the Next Level.
Book here: http://gai-gear4incrediblesuccess.eventbrite.com
Book Today So We Can Help You Make 2012 Your Best Year EVER !

Review: Johnnie Walker Double Black Limited Edition


 

 

 

 

 

 

Location:    Johnny Walker’s spiritual home is at Cardhu Distillery, Knockando, Morayshire, which is located in Strathspey, the whisky producing area of Scotland.

Owners:   Diageo

Water Source:   Springs on Mannoch Hill.

Background on Double Black:

Double Black is a new addition to the Johnnie Walker family of whisky. This new expression accents the smoky characteristic of Johnnie Walker Black Label, imparting additional richness and intensity of flavor. Double Black is made by blending select single malts from reserves that include heavily-peated malts in deep charred oak barrels.

Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker’s Master Blender Says “Johnnie Walker Double Black takes Johnnie Walker Black Label as its starting point. Drawing on generations of and maturation expertise and with the keys to the largest, most diverse stocks of aged Scotch whiskies in the world, I have created Johnnie Walker Black to be a new and complementary perspective on Black Label”.

Johnnie Walker Double Black carries no age statement.

Double Black was launched in January through six airport duty-free channels. The test run was well received and was then made available globally.

Packaging:

Packaged in a distinctive smoky grey/black coloured glass bottle, reflecting the smoky flavor. Double Black retains the iconic branding elements of Johnnie Walker whiskies: the familiar square bottle and slanting label.

Tasting Notes:

Nose: aromas of peat smoke, oak and dried fruits.

Palate:  peat smoke, tropical fruit notes, vanilla and spice. Easy mouth feel and with a medium finish.

Comments: Double Black is a wonderful extension to the existing brands in the Johnnie Walker range. This expression is aimed at people who are keen to explore its noticeably smoky and West Coast character in more depth.

Johnnie Walker Double Black won the Masters Award at the 2010 World Whisky Masters Awards ‘Best super premium blends’ category.

Available for a limited time only at LCBO – $69.95

 

Tip:  If you want to cut your whisky with water try bottled pure Scottish spring water

 

Make mine a Black, a Double Black….

 

 

 

Moet & Chandon toasts their ‘21st Anniversary’ as the Official Champagne of the 69th Annual Golden Globe® Awards with 2002 Grand Vintage Collection

Moet & Chandon is returning as the official Champagne of the 69th Annual Golden Globe® Awards, which is produced by Dick Clark Productions and in association with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). In a toast to its 21st year with the iconic awards ceremony, Moet & Chandon will introduce their award-winning 2002 Grand Vintage Champagne with a celebratory toast at this year’s Golden Globe Awards nominations announcement, which will be lead by HFPA president, Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly and Ludovic du Plessis, vice president of Moet & Chandon USA.

 

“Moet & Chandon has celebrated the magic of cinema for nearly a century, and we look forward to continuing to host and toast cinema icons in its legendary spirit of success and glamour at the Golden Globes,” said Ludovic du Plessis, Vice President of Moet & Chandon USA.

 

The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards will mark the first time that Moet & Chandon will serve Grand Vintage champagne from customized magnums created specifically for the occasion.

 

“Once again we’re happy to have Moet & Chandon on board with us as the official champagne of the Golden Globes®,” remarked Takla-O’Reilly. “This year marks a special year for us as our partnership enters its 21st year.”

 

Over 1,000 Moet & Chandon Imperial minis and 500 Grand Vintage 2002 magnums will be served on both the red carpet and inside the ballroom totalling over 9,000 glasses of Moet & Chandon enjoyed during one of Hollywood’s biggest nights.

 

 Tasting Notes:

A blend of 51% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Noir and 23% Pinot Meunier

A good white creamy mousse. Pale gold with very fine and persistent bead. The nose displays aromas of toasted brioche, yeast lees, citrus and some baked bread. Creamy in texture the palate exhibits refined flavors of toast, citrus, biscuit and yeast lees. Clean crisp finish with long aftertaste of toast, yeast lees and brioche.

Drink over the next 5-6 years (2016)

Alc 12.5%

 

The 2002 Grand Vintage Champagne has recently been awarded 93 points by Wine Spectator.

 

Liz Palmer
Wine and Lifestyle Writer
@champagnehouses

LAURENT-PERRIER announces sharp increase in results for first half of 2011-2012

 

 

A Grand Century Ewer

Laurent-Perrier is one of the few champagne houses listed on the French stock exchange dedicated exclusively to champagne and focused on the premium segment. Laurent-Perrier offers a broad range of products renowned for their quality, and sold under the brands Laurent-Perrier, Salon, Delamotte, and Champagne de Castellane.

  • Results in line with strategic choices
  • Above market growth for Laurent-Perrier brand
  • Increase in premium champagnes and export sales ratios
  • Markedly positive price/mix effect  
  • Significant improvement in operating margin  
  • Further improvement in cash-flow and debt reduction

The accounts for the first half of the 2011-2012 financial year have been reviewed by the Supervisory Board chaired by Maurice de Kervénoaël.

Main audited financial data

September 30

H1
2010-2011

H1
2011-2012

Change on Y-1

Turnover

81.2

92.0

+ 13.3%

Operating profit

9.9

19.9

x 2

Operating margin (%)

12.2%

21.6%

+ 9.4 pts

Group net income

2.96

9.49

x 3

Earnings per share (euros)

0.50

1.61

+ 1.11?

Net cash flow*

– 17.2

– 14.2

+ 3.0M?

* Cash flow from operations minus net investment, minus dividends

Commercial performance higher than market average

The 13.3% increase in turnover reflects a better than market average commercial performance: Group sales volumes rose by 5.8%, whereas global shipments by champagne houses rose by only 2.2% between April and September 2011.

Thanks to a speeding up growth, the Laurent-Perrier brand has galvanised Group performance. Its value indicators continued the recovery begun in 2009-2010, with the export ratio gaining 3.8 points to 73.8% and the premium champagne ratio rising 3.3 points to 38.4%. Activity was especially dynamic on markets outside Europe, where the proportion of sales grew by 3 percentage points relative to the first half of last year. Especially noteworthy were the United States and Japan, where sales were up sharply over the half-year, confirming the brand’s growing international presence.

Taking advantage of a steady, coherent brand development investment policy, Laurent-Perrier has benefited from the warm welcome given to the new boxing and labelling of the brut champagne lines in January, from the launch of the 2002 vintage champagne and from communication campaigns featuring Cuvée Rosé.

The Group’s price/mix effect became markedly positive once more, at 7.8% compared with a negative 15.7% in the first half of the last financial year on the strength of the increased contribution of the Laurent-Perrier brand to turnover, the successful launch of Salon’s 1999 Vintage, and the price increase implemented during the first quarter.

Significant improvement in operating margin

Operating profit rose for the third consecutive semester, increasing by close to 10 million euros compared with the first half of the last financial year, and driving the operating margin above the 20% threshold to 21.6%. This significant improvement highlights the following advances:

  • Gross margin picked up at 51.1%, a gain of 3.2 points in the first half thanks to a positive price/mix effect combined with an improvement in the grape harvest margin due to higher yields.
  • At 27.5 million euros, commercial and administrative costs fell by 1.2 million euros over the period. The decrease reflects the Group’s continued strict financial management. Brand development investment amounted to 7.3% of turnover, in line with the long-term average.

The financial result was stable compared with the first half of FY 2010-2011, at 5.3 million euros. The tax rate was down slightly at 34.5%.

Group net income came to 9.49 million euros, treble the amount for the first half of the previous financial year.

Further improvement in net cash-flow and net debt reduction

Compared with the previous year, net cash-flow continued to pick up. Even if it remained in negative territory due to the seasonal nature of Group activity, it improved by 3 million euros during the six month period thanks to the trebling of net income and the stabilisation of inventory levels.

The Group has, therefore, passed a new milestone in its debt reduction programme, which fell by 30 million euros in the space of twelve months, cutting the ratio of net debt to equity by 29 points in a year, to 120%.

Inventory levels remained far higher than net debt, standing at 1.65 times net debt, compared with 1.51 times a year earlier.

Outlook for 2011-2012

Commercial and financial performance in the first half cannot be extrapolated to the rest of the current year, as the global economic environment will be more uncertain in the second half and the comparison basis less favourable.

The Group can nevertheless reassert its strategic choices.

Its priority remains to speed up the pace of international development for the Laurent-Perrier brand. This will be driven by sustained investment in the brand image, notably with the celebration of the House’s bicentenary in 2012.

The Group will continue to strengthen its balance sheet in line with the wishes of family shareholders, who intend to defend the independence of the House and pursue its development over the long term.

Code ISIN: FR 0006864484
Bloomberg: LAUR FP
Reuters: LPER.PA
Laurent  Perrier belongs to compartment B of Euronext Paris.
It is part of the CAC Mid & Small, CAC Mid 60 and CAC All-Tradable indices

Etienne AURIAU

Anne-Laure DOMENICHINI

Chief Financial Officer

Corporate Communications Manager

( + 33 (0)3.26.58.91.22

( + 33 (0)3.26.58.91.22

www.finance-groupelp.com:
http://www.finance.laurent-perrier.fr/

Provisional financial timetable

Third quarter 2011-2012 results: 14 February 2012
Annual results: 30 May 2012

Appendix

Breakdown of change in turnover

2010-2011

2011-2012

Q1
1 April

30 June

Q2
1 July

30 Sept.

H1
1 April

30 Sept.

Q3
1 October

31 Dec.

Q4
1 January

31 March

Q1
1 April

30 June

Q2
1 July

30 Sept.

H1
1 April

30 Sept.

Turnover (?m)

36.8

44.4

81.2

84.2

32.4

41.0

51.0

92.0

Change / Y-1

17.3%

28.6%

+ 23.2%

12.7%

3.8%

11.5%

14.8%

13.3%

o/w
Volume Effect

40.3%

35.1%

37.6%

15.2%

8.4%

– 2.0%

12.2%

5.8%

Price/Mix Effect

– 24.1%

– 8.2%

– 15.7%

– 3.9%

– 5.4%

14.0%

2.8%

7.8%

Exchange Rate Effect

1.0%

1.6%

1.4%

1.4%

0.8%

– 0.5%

– 0.2%

– 0.3%

Domaine Laurent-Perrier – 51150 Tours-sur-Marne – France
Tel: 33 (0) 3 26 58 91 22 – Fax: 33 (0) 3 26 58 77 29

Laurent-Perrier, s.a. A Directoire et Conseil de Surveillance au capital de 22 594 271,80 Euros
R.C.S. Reims b 335680096 – siret 335 680 096 00021 – APE 6420Z
Champagne Laurent-Perrier – Champagne Salon – Champagne Delamotte –
Champagne de Castellane

 

www.finance.laurent-perrier.fr

LCBO PROMOTION SIMPLIFIES HOLIDAY SHOPPING AND ENTERTAINING

LCBO’s “Holiday Wrapped Up” promotion offers a wide range of gift packs and entertaining ideas to make holiday shopping easier. This seasonal promotion runs until December 31 in all 620 LCBO stores across Ontario.

“Our customers want help deciding what to buy and their holiday shopping made as simple as possible,” says Bob Downey, LCBO Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “This promotion does that by providing a range of gift packs at different prices, highlighting top seasonal product picks and a free holiday brochure with tips on how to entertain responsibly and with ease.”

LCBO is offering more than 190 gift packs, including larger-size and limited edition bottles, and multi-bottle packs that are ready-made for entertaining and gift giving. The full selection can be found at www.lcboholiday.com/gift_guide and at www.vintages.com/giftrapt. New gift packs this year include:

Wine

  • Go Local Holiday Discovery Multi-Pack (four 750 mL VQA wines from four Ontario producers) $49.95
  • Woodbridge Entertaining Pack (four 750 mL bottles of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet and Shiraz from the popular California winery) $48.95
  • Veuve Clicquot Brut Shopping Bag (a 750 mL bottle with a gift bag) $65.15

Spirits

  • Smirnoff Vodka Sonic Gift Pack (limited edition 750 bottle in MP3 speaker bag) $29.95
  • Skate Canadian Whisky (in an ice-skate-shaped 750 mL bottle) $49.95
  • Glenmorangie Discovery Gift Set (750 ml bottle and three 50 mL sampler bottles of aged single malts from the renowned Scottish distillery) $71.95

Beer

  • Holiday Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) Discovery Pack (six beers from different brewers) $11.95
  • Belgian Exclusive Ales Six-Pack Sampler $18.95
  • Unibroue17 Grand Reserve (750 mL bottle of acclaimed Quebec craft beer which is only available at LCBO this holiday season) $9.95

Vintages

  • Stratus Winery Red and White VQA Icewine Gift Pack (two 200 mL bottles) $79.95
  • Mike Weir 2009 Gift Pack (750 mL bottles of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc with Golfer’s Shoe Bag) $39.95
  • Zuccardi Series A Gift Pack (Two 750 mL bottles of Malbec and Syrah with olive oil) $39.95

“One way to make holiday shopping and entertaining simple and support our domestic producers is to go local,” notes Downey. “Our large range of Ontario VQA wines, local craft beers and Canadian whiskies and spirits makes it easy to celebrate the season with a national flavor.”

Are you looking for some  unique products or do you need some advice on holiday entertaining?  Find a range of products recommended for holiday entertaining by LCBO’s experts at www.lcboholiday.com/expert_picks and a free holiday brochure called “12 ways to an easy holiday” is also available in larger LCBO stores. Visit www.lcboholiday.com/drinks for festive drinks and   holiday entertaining ideas. The Vintages Gift Finder at www.vintages.com/gifts is a mobile-friendly site that also provides gifting solutions for hard to buy for people.

LCBO also offers gift cards at its stores and at all Shoppers Drug Mart and select Longos locations.  In December 2010, LCBO gift card sales rose more than 25 per cent to $19.8 million, up from $15.8 million in December 2009.

LCBO Facts:

–  In 2010, sales of Champagnes and sparkling wines increased to $22.5 million in December from $4.6 million in October.  The holiday period accounts for 30 to 35 per cent of annual LCBO Champagne and sparkling wine sales. Last year, liqueurs rose to $41 million in December from $15 million in October. December accounts for 28 per cent of annual sales of classic liqueurs (e.g. Baileys, Grand Marnier).

–  Twenty-five per cent of LCBO Cognac sales and more than 15 per cent of whisky sales occur in December.  Spiced rum is also expected to be a holiday favourite with sales growth up 30 per cent leading into December. Sales of fine wines and premium spirits in LCBO Vintages’ sections also typically see double-digit growth in December.

–  Last December, LCBO sales topped $600 million or almost 15 per cent of the year’s business.  The average per person transaction in December 2010 was $48 versus $36 the rest of the year.  Last year, December 23 was the biggest selling day ($48 million) and December 24 was next ($42 million).

 

“Deflate the Elephant”, LCBO’s social responsibility public information campaign, will again hit the web, airwaves, street and LCBO stores to promote safe and enjoyable celebrations this holiday season. Consumers can visit www.deflatetheelephant.com for a one-stop source for responsible hosting solutions and more than 50 non-alcoholic mocktail recipes.

For more information on the “Holiday Wrapped Up” promotion, entertaining ideas and responsible hosting tips, customers can call helloLCBO (formerly LCBO Contact Centre) at 1-800-ONT-LCBO (668-5226).  In Toronto, call 416 365-5900, visit your nearest LCBO store or go online to hellolcbo.com. The TTY number for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is 416 864-6898 or 1-800-361-3291. Customers can also access the LCBO website at www.lcbo.com and Vintages information at www.vintages.com.

Liz Palmer, Wine Writer

Mortgage-Free Eventually: RBC Poll Finds Majority of Canadians Hope to Pay Off Their Homes by Retirement

Mortgage-Free Eventually: RBC Poll Finds Majority of Canadians Hope to Pay Off Their Homes by Retirement – The title of the feed item

Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of Canadians with a mortgage hope to bemortgage-free by the time they reach age 65, but one-third (33 per cent) of older Canadians, those over the age of 55, have 16 or more years left on their mortgage term, according to the latest RBC Housing Snapshot poll.

“Canadians want to be mortgage-free as they approach retirement age and beyond, but the reality is that it takes prudent planning and the right advice to stay on track,” said Claude DeMone, director of Strategy for Home Equity Financing, RBC. “Using flexible and accelerated payment options are an easy and pain-free way to help take years off your mortgage and save thousands of dollars in interest costs.”

Canadians overwhelmingly say that a low interest rate is the most important feature when choosing a mortgage (96 per cent). Almost nine-in-10 Canadians also say that accelerated payment options (85 per cent) and flexible payment options (88 per cent) are important and desirable features.

Looking ahead, the majority of Canadians expect steadyinterest rates in the next six to 12 months. Almost one-in-five Canadians (18 per cent) expect rates will rise less than one per cent. Just over a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) think interest rates will rise more than one per cent in the same time period.

“Though many Canadians expect interest rates to stay the same over the next year, they should still keep in mind that it’s important to build some wiggle room into your budget to prepare for any extra costs or future rate increases,” DeMone added.

With a firm belief that interest rates will stay relatively stable over the next year, the RBC poll shows Canadians are increasingly interested in using either a variable (29 per cent, compared to 19 per cent in the first quarter of this year) orfixed rate mortgage (46 per cent, compared to 40 per cent in the first quarter of this year). Interest in using a hybridmortgage (part fixed, part variable) has declined (25 per cent, compared to 41 per cent in the first quarter of this year).

DeMone offers the following mortgage advice that will help Canadians pay down mortgages faster and get the right one to meet their individual needs:

  1. “Stress test” your mortgage for rate increases.If you are concerned about affordability down the road, knowing what your payments would be with a one to three per cent rate increase will give you greater peace of mind that your new home is affordable both today and in a few years, when rates might be higher.
  2. Look beyond the interest rate and consider your prepayment options. Many closed mortgages allow you to double up a payment or pay a lump sum on your mortgage annually without prepayment charges. Prepayments are applied directly to the principal balance, helping to save thousands of dollars in interest costs over the life of the mortgage.
  3. Take advantage of early renewal options. Some mortgages allow you to renew up to 120 days before the end of your term. This means you can lock in your new mortgage rate early.

Poll highlights:

  • An equal amount of Canadians in the 35-54 age group plan to be mortgage-free by age 55 (39 per cent) or by age 65 (39 per cent).
  • Young Canadians (age 18-34) have the most aggressive views of when they will be mortgage-free (by age 35: 12 per cent; by age 45: 26 per cent).
  • Among Canadian homeowners, the number of mortgage-free Canadians has increased slightly to 41 per cent in the fourth quarter from 38 per cent in the first quarter, and the highest level since 2006.
  • Canadians ages 55 and over were more likely to expect interest rates to stay about the same in the next six to 12 months (55+ 60 per cent compared to the national average of 51 per cent).

One-third of younger Canadians (18-34: 34 per cent) anticipate a steeper increase in interest rates in the next six to 12 months.

Regional highlights for British ColumbiaAlbertaPrairies,OntarioQuebec, and Atlantic Canada are also available.

Canadians can visit the RBC Advice Centrewww.rbcadvicecentre.com for advice on the costs associated with purchasing a home. The RBC Advice Centre is an online resource, with videos and interactive tools and calculators, that gives Canadians access to advice about all aspects of their finances including their homeownership goals – whether they are buying their first home, planning their next move, renovating or managing their current home financing. With the guidance of RBC mortgage specialists, Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice and personalized one-on-one service about RBC mortgage products and services.

RBC is the largest residential mortgage lender in Canada. As the country’s number one source of financial advice on homeownership, RBC conducts consumer surveys as one way to provide insight to Canadians about the marketplace in which they live. These are some of the findings of the RBC Housing Snapshot poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between from October 6-14, 2011. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted probability sample of 2,282 adults, with 100 per cent response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of ±2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error within subgroups of the sample will be higher.

– 30 –

For more information, contact:
Ka Yan Ng, RBC Communications
Matt Gierasimczuk, RBC Communications

http://thebankerwhosavedhissoul.com/mortgage-free-eventually-rbc-poll-finds-majority-of-canadians-hope-to-pay-off-their-homes-by-retirement/ – The link to the feed item

RBC Donates $2.6 Million to 99 After-School Programs Across Canada

RBC Donates $2.6 Million to 99 After-School Programs Across Canada – The title of the feed item

The RBC After-School Grants Project announced on November 17, 2011 that 99 community-based organizations across Canada will share $2.6 million in funding to provide after-school programs, including 15 new grant recipients. RBC has been supporting after-school programs since 1999, helping provide children with a safe, supervised environment for activities outside the classroom.

“Having funded 227 after-school programs since 1999, we know that children who participate in these programs have enhanced social skills and show increased motivation to excel in school,” said Shari Austin, vice-president, Corporate Citizenship at RBC. “We are very proud that our grants continue to help community-based organizations provide engaging activities that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and grow, while alleviating some pressures for working families.”

RBC After-School Grant recipients represent a diverse range of community based organizations, and were chosen by members of the community. Each program will receive up to $40,000 from RBC. There are 15 first-time grant recipients, including:

BRITISH COLUMBIA

  • Chilliwack Central Elementary School – A grant of $40,000 will help this downtown school provide a free after-school program to about 50 children, five days a week. Children can get help with homework, enjoy daily story time, visit the local library, participate in a formal fitness program, and receive art instruction.
  • KB Woodward Elementary School – A grant of $40,000 will help this school, located in Surrey where half of the residents are newcomers to Canada, provide a free, daily program for 30 children aged 6-12. Many other community partners are engaged to help deliver tutoring, ESL and literacy, athletics, arts and music programs, computer workshops and a science program.

ALBERTA

  • The Airdrie Boys’ and Girls’ Club – A grant of $40,000 will help this organization start a new, daily after-school program for about 30 teens, aged 13-18. This program addresses a need for local children to have access to organized activities and homework help and will provide group and individual life skill development, a book club, and weekly volunteering opportunities.
  • The Cerebral Palsy Association – A grant of $40,000 will help this organization start a new after-school program for teens with disabilities. The funds will be used to purchase specialized equipment, develop programming and educational resources. Activities will include homework help, art, mentoring, healthy snacks, computers, music therapy, cultural trips and sports.

SASKATCHEWAN

  • YMCA King George Community School – A grant of $34,000 will help provide a daily after-school program for 35 First Nations children aged 6-12, with culturally-sensitive activities as well as swimming lessons, tours, and activities at the YMCA.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Regina – A grant of $40,000 will help the Boys and Girls Club deliver free programming for 20 children, aged 7 to 14, in Regina’s inner-city, where youth face issues such as malnutrition, gangs, substance abuse and lack of access to social supports. Activities will focus on skill development and artistic expression in a safe environment.

MANITOBA

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, Aberdeen Club– A grant of $40,000 will help this organization deliver a free, daily after-school program to about 25 children aged 6-14, many of whom are Aboriginal. Activities will include organized sports, art and performing arts, homework help, computer instruction and environmental programs.

ONTARIO

  • The Beyond 3:30 program/ Kane Middle School, Toronto – A grant of $40,000 will allow this organization, serving a neighbourhood where drop-out rates are increasing, to provide a free, daily after-school program to more than 40 children aged 11-14. The program will offer homework help, a Book Club, a Junior Chefs Club, sports, music activities, as well as provide a nutritious snack, and discussions about topics ranging from gardening to bullying.
  • Harmony for Youth, Sarnia – A grant of $40,000 will help this organization run an after-school program in a region where children often lack the resources and supports they need just to complete their homework. The free daily program will be open to 25 participants aged 4-18, and will provide tutoring, cultural activities, such as music, crafts, cooking, leadership skills, mentoring, nutritious snacks, computer support, and outdoor activities, ‘pay it forward’, and a bully-buster program.
  • Essa Public Library After School Program – A grant of $39,400 provides a daily after-school program for 40 children aged 8-13, including children from military families stationed at CFB Borden, who face additional challenges because of frequent moves from school to school. The program will provide daily homework help through peer-tutoring, physical activities and games, art and crafts, special guests, music and a nutritious snack.
  • Wasauksing First Nation – A grant of $40,000 will help this community provide a daily after-school program to 25 students aged 12-18. The program is intended to help students transition from a small elementary school to the nearby high school through activities that help build self-esteem in a safe environment. RBC’s funds will be used to provide activities requested by the youth themselves, including sports, homework help, hand drumming and dancing, leadership opportunities through Drum Chiefs and Drum Kwee, access to a computer lab and nutritious snacks.

QUEBEC

  • Projet Harmonie, Montreal – A grant of $40,000 will help this organization provide a free, daily after-school program for 30 children aged 6-12. Children benefit from a range of activities including homework help, reading exercises, sports, music and even food-shopping expeditions to learn about the importance of good nutrition.
  • Centre communautaire Hochelaga, Montreal – A grant of $35,000 will help provide a daily after-school program for 25 participants aged 6 to 12. Children will get homework help and access to computers in a safe environment. The program also engages youth and seniors from the community so that participants can benefit from intergenerational connections.

ATLANTIC

  • Lower Sackville Boys and Girls Club, Nova Scotia– A grant of $35,000 will help provide a daily after-school program for 80 children aged 5-16. The funding will be used to add a new athletic program and math tutoring, to the current range of activities such as homework help, a reading club, swimming, arts and cultural activities, computer instruction and a science club.
  • Jello Tree After School Program, Shelburne County Youth Health and Support Association, Nova Scotia – A grant of $40,000 will help provide a free, daily after-school program for 30-35 participants aged 5 to 16. Activities include daily homework help, organized sports, art, leadership training, guitar, voice and song writing, as well as supervised time on computers, discussion groups/workshops by staff on topics ranging from addictions to healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition and bullying.

To be selected for a grant, after-school programs must offer structured and supervised activities for children between the ages of six and 17. The programs must focus on what RBC calls the “three Ss” — safety, social skills and self-esteem. RBC’s grants are used to provide a wide-range of activities including computer instruction, sports, literacy tutoring, music and art lessons, nutrition guidance, and homework help.

Since 1999, RBC has provided more than $25 million in grants to 227 after-school programs in Canada, helping more than 24,000 children.

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For more information, please contact:
Jackie Braden, RBC Brand Communications, (416) 974-1724

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